Hyrule Warriors Legends Review

Author’s note: This review was written with the gameplay of Hyrule Warriors Legends on the New Nintendo 3DS Xl in mind. Various sources indicate that the game runs horribly on an original 3DS, but I myself cannot testify to that since I only own a New Nintendo 3DS. This review will only take that system’s gameplay into consideration.

Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U was a surprising entry in the console’s library. The unforeseeable collaboration between Nintendo and Koei Tecmo merged the world of The Legend of Zelda and the gameplay of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. The game became successful and I would even argue that it is one of the best games on the Wii U to date. Now, Nintendo tries to reinvent that success by porting the game to the Nintendo 3DS with new content and gameplay improvements.

As its predecessor, Hyrule Warriors Legends is a hack-and-slash game that sees you trying to conquer the battlefield using overly-powered soldiers from the Legend of Zelda games. Controlling the battlefield consists of capturing enemy keeps and attempting to defeat the enemy commander after certain objectives are made. Mission objectives often vary to keep from repetition, but your goal is always to win each battle. However, the various modes found in the game attempt to keep things interesting and fresh.

Hyrule Warriors Legends‘ main draw is its Legend Mode which serves as the story for the game. The mode parallels that found in the Wii U version of the game, cutscenes and all. It may seem tedious to replay all the story missions if you already played them in the Wii U game, but there are some added in surprises in store. After completing certain missions in the main game, scenarios all part of “Linkle’s Tale” become available to play. Linkle’s Tale sees you playing as new character Linkle as she sets on the path to become the hero she believes she is fated to be. Although this mini-story isn’t as important or grandiose as the main campaign, it is a welcome addition to the game.

Aside from Linkle’s story, there are also a few extra story missions set in the world of The Wind Waker. This was the most exciting for me personally because I always thought it would be great to see characters and music from The Wind Waker in Hyrule Warriors, but it never made it to the Wii U version. Now, in Hyrule Warriors Legends, you will be able to play as three characters from The Wind Waker; Toon Link, Tetra, and the King of Hyrule. That’s right, you will be able to play as the King of Hyrule who can transform into the King of the Red Lions and everything. What else could you ask from a video game?

Also new to the game is the Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask, which I believe is a welcome addition to any hardcore Legend of Zelda fan. All five new characters come with their own unique movesets and playing as each of them is all part of the fun. Hyrule Warriors Legends also comes with all of the DLC characters from the Wii U version. This makes picking up Legends a great deal if you never bought any of the DLC for the original like myself.

Although the gameplay in Hyrule Warriors Legends is nearly identical to its console counterpart, there are many welcome additions which improve the game significantly. One of the best features in this 3D version is the ability to switch between characters in battle during certain missions. This solves one of my greatest complaints with the Wii U version and makes the game so much more fulfilling to play. Since you now can control multiple characters, various objectives can be carried out efficiently at the same time. Often in the original you would have to make terrible sacrifices because you couldn’t make it in time from one corner of the map to another. The running from corner to corner also got tedious in and of itself. Being able to switch characters is an important implementation in the game and so is the new Ocarina item in the game. In maps where you do not have allies, owl statues are scattered around and waking up each statue will allow you to fast-travel to each statue in an instant.

Another helpful addition is the new My Fairy Mode. As you progress through the story and the giant Adventure Mode, you will be able to rescue various fairies. These fairies are based on elements like your weapons and their various skills can often turn the tide of battle. As a cutesy feature, you will be able to dress up, name, and feed all of your fairies so that they can grow and level up. Although you can overlook this feature, it is a nice addition that can really help in some of the most challenging levels.

As mentioned in the author’s note, the main issues critics will have with Hyrule Warriors Legends deal with its graphics and frame-rate. Although I can say that the frame-rate can be questionable at times, it never detracts from the gameplay. The game never slowed down in the middle of a mission, and believe it or not, I found the load screens to be faster than on the Wii U version. If the graphics and frame-rate are your main concern for not picking up the game, then rest assured that they aren’t detrimental to the gameplay experience. I enjoyed every moment with the game and no slow frame-rates ever got in the way of that.

The only real issue with the game that ever bugged me were the various weakened effects concerning battle animations. All characters have strong attacks that they employ when weakening an enemy’s “Weak Point gauge” or when using a Special Attack. On the console version these attacks came with great animations that showed off the character using their unique moves. In Legends, these animations are replaced with a banner with a piece of the character’s model artwork. This was a strange change considering that the system is strong enough to show the cutscenes in high quality. Seeing the character’s unique attacks made the original so memorable so it is a shame that they are missing in this port.

Developer: Omega Force

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: 3DS

Release Date: 25th March 2016

Score: 85%